Ava’s Column: I hate Joe Goldberg

February 9, the first part of the long awaited season four of YOU, was released. As a brief recap of season three, Joe murdered Love and left their son, Henry, in the care of two trusted neighbors after Joe faked his death. The season ended off with Joe searching for his current obsession, Marienne Bellamy, who has run away to Europe. 

Joe, who is now referred to as Jonathan Moore, starts off the season as a college professor in a London university. He seems to be living thet ypical life; one that is free of murder, stalking, and other creepy behavior after he decides to let Marienne go. He is, verbatim, “trying to redeem himself” from his past and break his old habits, because committing murder multiple times is just a little mistake, one that is on the same level as biting your nails or staying up too late. Anyway, everything seems to be going great for Joe until he wakes up from a crazy night out to find his coworker, Malcolm, dead on his dining table. 

Of course, Joe knows how to hide a dead body since he’s an insane serial killer, and commits his familiar routine of disposing of dead bodies and making sure that they will never be found. What Joe does not know yet is that he did not kill Malcolm. Joe is being framed. The person who murdered Malcolm starts stalking Joe in an ironic twist, forcing Joe to become a detective in order to figure out who is stalking him and committing the murders.

As much as I love seeing Joe get a taste of his own medicine, I do have some critiques for the show. 

I wish that the writers made the commentary behind what kind of person Joe is more obvious, instead of thinly veiled. Especially in these later seasons. The thinly veiled commentary made a lot of sense during the first season, since viewers did not know Joe yet. We got to see him like the side characters in the show did, for the first time and as a normal person who shows empathy and compassion. But, following those scenes, viewers saw the deeper workings of Joe’s mind and were exposed to his murderous tendencies. 

This dual portrayal of Joe, while it’s an eerie reminder that it’s impossible to know someone’s true intentions, is no longer necessary. This is the fourth season, and many viewers have been watching Joe and his evil acts for years now. I no longer question that Joe is deranged, even with the thinly veiled commentary. Instead of putting a bright spotlight on Joe’s “humane” side, I wish the writers would dive deeper into the concealed side of his personality. The side of him he is trying to “leave behind.” Stop displaying Joe attempting to redeem himself by avoiding a relationship with Kate. Let him be evil and make the wrong choices, because at the end of the day Joe is an evil person. This should be obvious to viewers at this point of the show. 

I honestly want this season of YOU to be the last, because Joe’s story has been fairly exhausted, even with the suspenseful and entertaining plot points that each season brings. I don’t want the series to end with Joe getting away with his actions. I want to see his perfectly crafted facade truly unravel, not just to one or two characters who Joe eventually murders, and I want the series to end with him realizing the truth about himself. 

As for things I liked about this season so far, I love how the writers flipped the script and took me by surprise with Joe being the one stalked, not the stalker. Although sitting through scenes with Malcom’s completely ignorant and unaware friends made me want to pull my hair out, I enjoyed the commentary on money’s ability to make problems disappear. I really liked Phoebe’s character, an ignorant but not heartless wealthy person. She brought a lot of humor to this otherwise high-pressure show. The story is, of course, only halfway through, and I can not wait until March 9 when I can binge the second half of what I hope will be an amazing finale of YOU